Regent Honeyeater at Newstead, Vic.

Subject: Regent Honeyeater at Newstead, Vic.
From: Chris Tzaros <>
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2003 10:24:43 +1000
Dear all,

Thanks to John Harris for reminding me to post my observations of the Regent Honeyeater at Newstead.  At the time it was reported to me, I followed it up almost immediately and my partner and I were lucky enough to see the bird (almost certainly the same one).  As soon as I could, I also informed numerous local Castlemaine, Bendigo, Ballarat and Newstead birdos and field nats. who have flocked to see it.

Now to the bird.  The following is snippet of facts that I've sent to numerous people.  The Regent HE was first seen in the township of Newstead (near Castlemaine) by Joe Hubbard outside his son's (Cameron) motel (Whispering Gums Motel) on 17th May.  The sighting was reported to me on the 21st and I saw it on the 24th, in same tree!  Four weeks later, the bird is still there (in the same 3-4 trees) and I've checked up on it several times.  Trees are Red Ironbark (E. tricarpa) in heavy flower, and the regent has been seen feeding on the flowers of these trees.  Yellow Gums (E. leucoxylon) nearby are also flowering well but I've only seen the bird in there on one occasion.  The district was hard hit by the drought but recent rains have brought the area back to life.  There are numerous species of honeyeaters in the area including Red Wattlebird, New Holland HE, White-plumed, Fuscous, Yellow-tufted, White-naped, Brown-headed and Eastern Spinebill.  Apart from the regent, other more unusual (or scarce visitors) include Noisy Friarbird and Crescent HE (this is the first Crescent I've ever seen in the box-ironbark).  There has been unconfirmed report also of Yellow-plumed from nearby area of forest.  Records of Regents are few and far between in this area.  The last sighting in the district was 5-6 years ago, and prior to that, there was a record in 1989.  These are the last two records of regents in that entire region for some time.  They were once common around the towns of Maryborough and Bendigo, and probably in the areas surrounding Maldon, Castlemaine and Newstead, but now they are incredibly rare visitors from ????  So far, it is estimated that over 100 people have visited the 'tree' and seen the regent.  My guess is that it will stay around for a while, as long as those trees keep producing food.  Red Wattlebirds are very aggressive towards it but on the same token, the Regent has been dishing a bit back!  Also very interesting is the Regent's calling behaviour.  It is mimicking Red Wattlebird and occasionally Little Wattlebird.  Reports of Regents mimicking are not unusual (well documented and summarised in HANZAB), but I am intrigued as to where this bird has come from considering it speaks the language of Little Wattlebird?????

Happy birding.


At 09:37 AM 6/11/03 +1000, you wrote:
Dear All
I agree with Michael Norris about forwarding info on bird sightings to Stuart, but can someone tell me why the Regent Honeyeater, seen a short distance from Castlemaine, that has been hanging around 5 ironbark trees and seen by well-known, and prominent, B-A's has not yet been mentioned????????????
I believe that it has been there for about a month.
I will provide more info, shortly.
John Harris
Doncaster East

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Chris Tzaros
Research and Conservation Officer
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